Wig Buying Guide

Finding a wig doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you are losing your hair due to cancer, alopecia, chemotherapy treatments or other medical conditions, or if you simply want a new look, this buying guide will help you to choose the right wig for you.

The encouraging news is that no one will be able to tell that you are wearing a wig. Typically when women start wearing their wig for the first time, their friends will tell them how great their new haircut looks, not realizing it's actually a wig. If you have always wanted a different hair style or color, there couldn't be a better time to experiment. Maybe you have always wanted to be a redhead. Or maybe you always wished your straight hair had curls. With wigs, the options are limitless.

Although many women do not choose to wear wigs by choice, they do find that there are unexpected benefits. One is that your morning routine is much, much simpler. You will also save money on hairstyling, cuts and coloring. Best of all, you will never have a "bad hair day." 


  

wig buying guide - step 1




Just like shopping for clothes, you want to start by browsing in the right size or section of the store. If you are 5'10" tall and you are shopping in the petite section, it will inevitably be a frustrating experience. Therefore, the first step in selecting a wig is to determine your head size.

For women’s wigs, there are 3 basic sizes: Petite, Average and Large. Most women (90-95%) will wear an average sized cap. For those who do not wear an average, the majority will wear a petite cap. A small percentage of women will wear a large cap. To achieve accurate measurements, it is best to have someone else help you. The tape measure should be snug but not tight or pulled when the measurements are taken.


  • Head Circumference:


  • To measure the circumference of your head. you will be tracing around your hairline. To begin, take a flexible cloth or seamstress measuring tape. Starting at your forehead, trace all the way around your hairline, behind the ears, to the nape of your neck and back behind your opposite ear to meet the end of the measuring tape in front.

chart of wig measurements


The majority of the time, using the circumference of your head will give you an accurate indication of size and you can stop with the first dimension. If your size didn't  match your expectations, you may wish to take an additional measurement.


 



  

Front to Back:


Run your finger up the center of your forehead until you touch the roots of your hair. This is where you will begin your measurement. Next, starting at your spine, run your finger up your neck until you touch the roots of your hair. This is where you will end your measurement. Run the measuring tape from the starting point to the ending point over the top or crown of the head. Use the following dimensions as a guideline:

 

how to measure your head for a wig

 

Because most women wear an average sized cap, there will be more choices for women whose heads are within the average size range. Our wigs come with an adjustable strap that allows you to get a customized fit within the range. If your wig does not feel right when you first put it on, try adjusting the straps.



 

 wig step 2 - select hair   

Step 2 is to decide what hair type you would like. You have three choices:


  • Human Hair

    Many cancer patients come to us wanting a human hair wig. Human hair wigs offer the same styling versatility of real hair. This feature is both the pro and the con of a human hair wig. Because human hair wigs are made of real hair, they require much more maintenance, styling and upkeep. Without the natural oils from your scalp to condition the wig, they can get dry and brittle without proper maintenance. Just like your own hair, they will lose their style in the rain or humidity and must be restyled. They are also much more expensive than synthetic wigs. For this reason, we don't generally recommend human hair wigs for cancer patients or first time wig wearers. When you are not feeling well, one of the great benefits to a synthetic wig is that your hair always looks good with almost no effort. With so many things to worry about, we recommend simplifying your routine as you go through treatments. This being said, if you want the versatility of a human hair wig, we have many to choose from. Human hair wigs can last a year or more (if worn daily) with proper care.

  • Synthetic Hair

    Many people who have not seen a high quality synthetic wig think that they need a human hair wig to get a natural look. This is simply not the case. High quality synthetic wigs (like the ones we carry) will be virtually indistinguishable in appearance from a human hair wig. Synthetic wigs have the benefit of retaining their shape, so they require very little styling. Simply spritz the wig with a spray bottle of water and the hair will return to their original style. The negative to synthetic hair is that it cannot be exposed to heat sources as it will permanently damage the fibers. This means that care must be taken when putting your casserole in the oven or barbecuing. It also means that you cannot use a curling iron, flat iron, hair dryer or other heated styling tools on the wig. Synthetic wigs typically last from 4-6 months (if worn daily) with proper care. Keep in mind that most women do not wear their wig every day.

  • Heat Friendly Synthetic Hair

    Synthetic wigs that can be styled with heated styling tools (maximum temperature of 350 degrees) are known as "Heat Friendly". They allow you to change the look from curly to straight. For women who find it important to have this versatility but do not want a human hair wig, a heat friendly synthetic wig may be a good option. One negative to heat friendly synthetic wigs is that the hair can be a little more difficult to style than human hair.  If (when wearing the wig) the hair is pressed against the back of a chair or pillow for a period of time, it can become matted around the nape area. Using your flat iron or curling iron on a very low setting can restore the shape if this happens.Average life span is 3 months if worn daily. If you only wear your wig occasionally this will of course extend the life span. 


 


wig step 3 - cap type

There are four basic types of wig caps:


  • Classic Wigs

    These are machine made wigs with traditional wefted rows of hair that are sewn together. Most of our classic wigs are "capless," allowing your head to breathe. They will have teased fibers at the hair roots to conceal the cap underneath. Due to the construction, the part is stationary and therefore classic wigs will offer less styling versatility. Classic wigs provide a very natural and affordable look that has stood the test of time.

  • Monofilament Wigs

    More expensive than classic wigs, monofilament wigs go the extra step to make your hair look completely real. Each hair is individually placed on a transparent mesh cap (instead of in rows), making it look like your real hair is growing from your scalp. Monofilament wigs are ideal for cancer patients or women with full hair loss due to alopecia or other conditions. They are truly convincing replications of your natural hair growth. The part can be moved, allowing greater styling versatility. Monofilament wigs will have varying amounts of monofilament construction. Most feature this construction on the top of the cap only.

  • Hand Tied Caps

    Another step up, these are monofilament wigs that are typically sewn on a very soft piece of lace fabric. Unlike regular monofilament wigs, the entire cap features hand tied construction, providing the most natural look possible.

  • Lace Front Wigs

    Lace fronts can be on classic caps, monofilament caps or hand tied caps. Lace front wigs feature individually tied hairs on very fine lace around the hairline. This allows you to pull your hair back from your face for a natural look.

 

For more information on Cap Types, please see our guide on How Wigs Are Made.

 


  

wig step 4 - wig styles

 

Once you have decided on your size, your hair type and the cap type(s) you would like to consider, now you can have fun. Browse through your options and decide which style you like. For women who have very long hairstyles before their hair loss, it is often best to go a bit shorter. A shorter wig will be easier to manage, and less of a transition once your hair begins to grow back.

It is important to choose a style before you choose a color because each wig will only come in a selection of colors from the full color range. You cannot choose the color first because you will have to choose from the colors that the particular style is made in. Many women worry that if they don't start with color, they won't find the right color. Do not worry. Each wig comes in a large selection of colors and there will most likely be a suitable color in any style you choose.

If you would like to match your style to your existing hair, detailed length measurements are included with our wigs. Measuring your own hair lengths before you lose your hair can provide helpful information as you make your selections.

For helpful information on choosing a wig style that is flattering for you, visit our Wig Style Guide.



 

  • wig step 5- select color

    Each wig comes in a selection of approximately 30 colors of the 600+ unique wig colors we offer. For this reason, it is impossible to choose your wig color until you have selected your style.Most individuals find that it is best to match their natural hair color. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is very helpful to cut a locke of hair for color matching to your wig. We always recommend that our customers take advantage of our free expert consultations once their order is placed. Many of our customers choose to send us hair swatches, allowing our experts to help them select an ideal color match.There are a number of other useful tools we utilize in assisting our customers. For example, instead of hair swatches, customers will frequently send us photographs of themselves. Because color can be subjective, it is best to provide a concrete frame of reference to allow us to best assist you. 

    Our hair swatches are small samplings of a full wig. Like all swatches, they only give you a small representation of what the color will look like. To fully understand how a color will look, it is better to see it on a full wig. One tool in selecting a color is to browse through our website looking only at the colors the wigs are pictured in. At this point, you are ignoring the styles and looking only for colors you like. Jot down several colors and styles. During your consultation, we will compare the online photos to our in store hair swatches that are available in your wig style. The more photos you provide, the better idea it will give us of the look you want.

  • If you would like to try and to select your wig color on your own, we recommend looking at other wigs in the brand you have selected to see which styles are pictured in colors you are considering. This will give you a better visual of the overall color.

    If you are torn between two color options, we recommend choosing the lighter hair color. Chemotherapy treatments can wash out your skin tone. Your skin tone can develop a greyish, greenish or yellowish tone. A darker shade will provide more contrast, accentuating a paler complexion; a lighter color will soften the effect for a more flattering look.

    For more helpful information on selecting your wig color, please see our Wig Color Guide.


 

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Rate This Article
Helped a lot Review by Wig Buying Guide
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Best guide I've seen for newbies like me. Thank you for your excellent tips. I feel more prepared to select my wig now.(Posted on 09/14/2016)

boss Review by Wig Buying Guide
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I have a synt wig now but I can fel the cap and it drives me nuts what wig wont do that (Posted on 01/17/2016)

  • We would recommend purchasing the highest quality synthetic wig you can afford. The mono tops are typically softer and more comfortable on the scalp. In general, the better the wig quality, the more comfortable the cap will be. (08/22/2016)
How do you keep a wig on when your head is bald? Review by Wig Buying Guide
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I ordered a wig elsewhere, uselessly. It had 4 combs to hold it on - a medical wig. I have no hair. So, how do your monofilament wigs stay on? Thanks!(Posted on 11/29/2015)

  • Lin, it sounds like you ordered a hair topper instead of a wig. Our wigs slip on the head and cover the head completely without combs. There are straps on the inside to achieve a custom fit. (09/01/2016)
ms Review by Wig Buying Guide
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I would like to see a product that gives' fullness' under head wraps or turbans. Is there anything like that?(Posted on 04/24/2015)

  • Yes, we recommend our scarf pad. It will add fullness under headwear without making your head too hot! (05/03/2015)
headcovers Review by Wig Buying Guide
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i would like information about this hair topper with 4 clips, to cover bald patch on one side. please help. barbara.(Posted on 03/12/2015)

  • Hi, Barbara, Please contact customer service at 1-800-264-4287 and we will be happy to help you in your selection! We do offer a number of toppers that would meet your needs. (03/31/2015)
Mrs Review by Wig Buying Guide
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Thank you for this easy to read and understand explanation. I had no idea where to begin, and now I feel like I have a good informed base of information. Bless you!(Posted on 03/08/2015)

  • Betty, thank you so much for stopping by! Please contact us if we can answer any additional questions for you! (03/31/2015)
Thanks so much Review by Wig Buying Guide
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Thank you for this page! I don't feel so overwhelmed now. I am going to be placing an order soon.(Posted on 01/30/2015)

Vet tech Review by Wig Buying Guide
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I think this article was great. The only thing I don't find is information about the actual circumference of each hair. I have Very fine hair and don't think a wig with coarser hair would work. I'm facing a huge hair loss and am thinking a wig is in the future. But I'd like to find one with "fine" hair like my own. Do you try to match this? Thank you, Tally (Posted on 01/18/2015)

  • The individual hairs are of an average caucasian texture. The great thing about wigs is that if you find that the hair is too full, it can easily be thinned by your hair stylist or a wig specialist to achieve a thinner look. As long as the overall body of the wig is similar to your own hair, it will match your own hair very well. We would like to reassure you that this isn't something for you to worry about. (01/19/2015)
Great Comprehensive Coverage For First Time Wig Buyers Review by Wig Buying Guide
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This is an amazing resource for first time wig buyers. I learned so much. I am starting treatments soon for ovarian cancer and your resource pages have been a huge blessing. I feel much more confident knowing that I am in capable hands!(Posted on 12/31/2014)

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